Do you remember what it was like when a personal cam recorder weighed five pounds? When we would pop in the VHS tape into the camera hoping it would record for the next three to four hours?
Recently I sat down with my family and we pulled out these old VHS tapes. On them hours and hours of recording time. There was the 1987 Christmas with the uncle displaying a full man beard with tight stone-washed jeans. The yearly tradition of gathering around the piano to sing Christmas carols while trying to ignore the aunt singing slightly out of tune.
We watched the cross country road trip in an RV from Florida to Idaho which had a goal of filming each welcome road sign as we entered a new state. The filming of lunch at a campground picnic table with the Grand Canyon within just a few hundred yards.
Hours and hours of ordinary moments captured on film. But were they all that ordinary?
Today, we’ve lost the art of filming everyday moments. In the age of the six second Vine video or the proclaimed selfie photo, we miss life because we are more absorbed into technology. We have no two hour footage of the one year old’s birthday party or the Christmas recording on a tripod that had a few minutes of no one in the shot.
If you feel the way I do, here are some lessons we can learn:
1. Life’s greatest memories are found in every day moments.
When we get to the end of our lives we might be surprised at what matters most. It’s probably not the day we closed the big deal at work or the new job title we worked hard to earn. Life’s greatest memories are found in every day moments. This is why the four hour taping of the 1989 Christmas can bring you to tears, make you laugh out loud, and fill your heart with gratitude.
2. Relationships really do matter.
Pulling out the old tapes will convince you of something – relationships really do matter. In these old tapes, you’ll probably come across a loved one who is gone from this earth. Yet, as you watch a moment of their life captured on film, you can’t help but chuckle at how much you are alike. You do the same silly pranks, dance just like them, or have the same mannerisms. If there is one dominating thought we will have at the end of this life, it’s this: relationships really do matter.
3. Slow down, be fully present, and savor the moment.
If you could go back in time, there’s one thing you do for sure- you’d savor the moment. You wouldn’t be burdened with the worries of tomorrow because you’d have the perspective that everything worked out after all. You wouldn’t be concerned about what you’re getting for Christmas because somehow it doesn’t really matter as much. If I could go back, I’d savor the moment and be fully present.
A group of kids were asked to explain what love is really like. My favorite answer was from Bobby, age five who said:
“Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and just listen.”
In some ways, we’ve lost the art of slowing down to just listen. To listen to the love in the room. To listen to the gratitude we have in our hearts. To listen to the joy we have when we spend time with those we love. The only way for us to change is to simply slow down, be fully present, and savor the current moment.
By the way, I’ve already pulled out the camera and I’m determined to record a few hours of Christmas this year. I don’t want to miss these amazing moments.